Sunday, 2 September 2018

Ditching the traditional timetable - backward planning

Ok, so I believe that the very notion of a timetable is contradictory to a play-based class that aims for child led learning through interests and urges.  So we 'formally' ditched it this year and it has the best thing we could have done.

Like a flowing stream I believe a play-based class meanders, whilst the water is all ultimately travelling in the same direction, every drop of water travels a slightly different path. 

Restricting play to a timetable gives a ping pong effect, that I personally find very stressful, for me I wanted to get of the conveyor belt and just allow the learning to take over.

So what it is it we do, are we travelling along blind. are we still planning?  Yes we are planning, I look at it like different camera angles, there is the extreme wide shot that shows us the full picture, the wide shot that focuses in on particular items and the close up which picks out priorities for the day/week.

Alright, enough of the waffle, this is how I do it (it is of course not the only way to do it by any means.)

Beginning of the year - Ingredients of play, what are the important parts of my programme that I want to weave into my room

This mind map is here

And a framework for developmental progress

And a specific one for communication/literacy

Along with this, as the progress of development in literacy is vital to me and it comes first from an ability to communicate and play around with sounds.

From this I create a mind map one for each term, using what I discovered in the term before to guide me.  This is in no way prescriptive, but a guideline.

This one is for this term.

From there I keep a google drive folder that includes the developmental stage children are at, our developmental goals writing groups (which are flexile) and other bits and pieces.

Then this is where I go back to the future :)  I have a good old fashioned scrapbook.  I glue in all the important stuff I need to refer to, so that I can scribble over stuff and change as needed.  I also keep a class learning story book where we can paste photos and make notes about our learning.

For each week, I will reflect on my mind map and on the week before, along with the interests and urges I have noticed and any emotional/social areas that could do with more focus.  I will pop these down as priorities for the week.  These are my must do's.  An example from last week:

 (we currently have 43 children and three teachers.)
*KOS - where I live, what if I get lost, feelings
*Writing group 2 once, writing group 3 once, storytelling together.
*Number Agents
*Bucket filling (to help with some friendship issues)
*Being brave mindfulness
*Individual readers, ten each day split between the three of us.
*Individual developmental check in's three-four each per day

Then we just go for it, get into the flow of the day, starting with play, and taking my cue from the children I begin to incorporate the things highlighted as priority as and when they are appropriate.  At each break time I will write down what we have actually done in that session. 

As we notice interests and urges I will also scribe these and may incorporate bits and pieces into our day that complement these.

By the end of the day, I will have a timetable written, the novelty is that it has already been done and will be used to guide the flow of the following day.

At times even our must dos will go by the wayside if it interrupts our flow.

In my facebook post I also spoke about children creating the timetable in a year 2-4 class.  I promise I will blog about that next, because it is not my process, I want to check with the teacher involved to gather all the ins and outs.

I hope that this post was helpful. 

And just because they are so so cute!